Food and Drink: STOP PRESS, Port Autonomy has reopened!
For those of you that didn’t get the chance to read Tour Mandalay’s previous review, the Port Autonomy team opened up their first ‘pop-up’ restaurant in November last year (2014). As a result of rental complications, the dream at Lanthit Jetty was short lived and the restaurant was forced to close its doors early in February. If you ask us, it’s a real shame seeing as their presence at the jetty would have helped to encourage further development in an area that still has some amazing potential. Anyway, let’s not dwell, the purpose of this article is to celebrate. Port Autonomy is back and it’s better than ever!
Located in the back garden of Le Planteur’s old venue, a restaurant long associated with quality cuisine, it seems only fitting that Port Autonomy has relocated here. Shortly after stepping out of the taxi, we were guided to an opening which led into the restaurant’s lush, tropical garden. Lighting the way to the entrance were a line of oil lamps on both sides of a makeshift, wooden-tiled path – it felt like one of those dream-like Hawaiian bars, which we guess is fitting seeing as the Head Chef, the genius Kevin Ching, was born there.
The team have done an excellent job in terms of replicating the laid-back, cosy feel of the old venue. In what was previously Le Planteur’s outdoor dining area, now stands a make shift restaurant cover crafted from wood and corrugated iron, with the brand defining food truck sitting pretty in the middle.
One thing Tour Mandalay particularly loved about Port Autonomy’s previous location was the fact the restaurant opened up to the surrounding location – it completely embraced what was going on around. Whilst there are sadly no market stalls or friendly trishaw drivers parked up outside, the new venue does an excellent job in terms of opening up to the perfectly manicured garden. This was undoubtedly one of the old Le Planteur’s highlights and it’s clear to see that Port Autonomy have done their best to max out its potential.
Keen to test out some of our old favourites, along with some of the new, Tour Mandalay went overboard and ordered, 1) the watermelon and tomato salad, 2) the Burmese rice with guacamole, 3) the Korean cubano, 4) the buffalo chicken with aioli and ranch sauce and 5) kimchi quesadilla with another huge dollop of guac. As expected, each of the dishes were fresh, tasty and full of perfectly balanced flavours. For the 45 minutes it took to polish them off, Tour Mandalay were in a culinary heaven.
To wash the dishes down we ordered the trademark Jetty Punch and a couple of generously sized iced mojitos. The Jetty Punch was just as good as we remembered and the the fresh mint in the mojitos was extremely refreshing, especially in Yangon’s muggy late March heat.
Food and drink aside, it was great to see the old team back together in the same shiny food truck. The service was exceptional and it’s clear to see that there has been absolutely no compromise on quality. In fact, after tasting the kimchi quesadilla, there’s a good chance we’re only going to see this improve.
Whilst nothing is ever guaranteed in the world of a pop-up restaurant, we are pleased to announce that Port Autonomy plans to stay at the current venue until at least the beginning of next year. This means that those of you planning to travel at the end of this year will have a chance to check out this unique culinary experience for yourself. Word also has it that a fine dining restaurant, managed by Port Autonomy’s team but under a different name, will be opening shortly. Tour Mandalay will be sure to provide further details as and when we hear.
Please note that the restaurant is only open for brunch on Sundays and it’s closed all day on Mondays. If the old venue’s anything to go by, this is fast becoming one of the most popular eateries in the city – be sure to call ahead to book your table!
Address: 22A Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, Bahan Township (on the road up to Golden Hill Towers)
Tel: 09 253 710 651